Japan is experiencing one of the perils of adopting a Westernized, resource-heavy lifestyle: a population explosion of trash-picking varmints. Specifically, in their case, crows, whose nests on power lines have become a cause of repeated power failures, including one that recently shut down the bullet trains. And the Times reports that
The crow explosion has created a moral quandary for Japan, a nation that prides itself on nonviolence and harmony with nature, because culling programs are the only truly effective method of population control.Well, the pride in nonviolence may be a new development, since World War II. (Or were all those samurai swords meant as conversation pieces?) But back then, the Japanese homeland was never invaded, and now, the crows are on their turf. So, city governments are setting out baited traps, and power companies are sending out uniformed crow patrols. And the crows are fighting back:
In Kagoshima, they are even trying to outsmart the Crow Patrol. The birds have begun building dummy nests as decoys to draw patrol members away from their real nests.Well, after all those years of humans putting up scarecrows, turnabout is fair play.
It could be worse. The crows are displaying intelligence somewhat superior to the average Nigerian 419 scammer, but they haven't figured out what the infrastructure they keep wrecking is actually good for. Yet. When they start pirating internet service... watch out.